COLA Study Abroad Interview- Abigail McIntosh- London

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Tell us about yourself!

My name is Abigail McIntosh. I’m a Senior (Graduation: May 2019) Communication Major and Art Minor from Nashua, New Hampshire.

Why did you choose London. Why a UNH managed program specifically? 

I visited England a long, long time ago on a trip with family and family friends. It was an incredible experience, and I knew that I would have to return again. London is also a great option in that the primary language spoken there is English, so it is great if you do not have room to take a language requirement, or feel more comfortable having an english speaking country as your home base for travel. Choosing a UNH program was great because it made the credit transfer/application/visa process so easy. Paperwork, credits, and travel documents were all taken care of by UNH and Regents University, which saved me a lot of time!

Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in London?  

I have always loved traveling. I am blessed to have had experiences growing up that revolved around travel and exploration. England and Italy were two major trips that I went on while growing up. Learning to value the experience of visiting a new place definitely made me want to study abroad.

What were your expectations of London before arriving?  

I try not to have expectations of a place before visiting, but I cannot lie when I say that I was extremely excited about the prospect of visiting all of the free museums in the city, and I had pretty high expectations for them (they did not let me down). Though I do not set many expectations for a place, I do set expectations for myself. I was absolutely determined to travel alone whenever possible and I was nervous and excited at the prospect of doing it.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad?  What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?  

I have learned that I am just as capable, independent and strong as I hoped to be. Studying abroad taught me that traveling is easy, confidence is key, and traveling alone as a young woman is 100% possible. I found myself in only one scary situation while traveling in Barcelona, and I look back and marvel at my cool and calm approach to getting out of it. I am glad that I faced challenges, because I was able to understand just how capable I am. I remember thinking about studying abroad, and wondering what I would feel and be like once I returned home. I am the same me, but 100x wiser and with way more interesting stories than I ever thought possible.

Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why?   

I went to six countries when I was abroad, and four of them I traveled to alone. I often met up with friends  and people I knew in the countries that I visited, so that made the experience really wholesome for me. My favorite place was Scotland, specifically the Highlands. It was absolutely gorgeous (I am a huge outdoor person) and I couldn’t get over what mountains look like in the Scottish National Parks.

Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?   

I took five classes and enjoyed them all. My favorites were ‘Society and Mass Violence’ and ‘The Psychology of Fashion’. They were taught by incredible professors from different parts of Europe, and they each taught me a ton about the country I was living in, which was really really cool. The unit about the punk movement in London was by far one of my favorite lectures in my Psychology of Fashion class.

Why do you recommend London? What are some of London’s benefits?  

I recommend London because it is a city that has absolutely everything. When staying at Regents University, you are literally on a property in one of the queen’s parks, so there are trees and green space everywhere. If you want the city feel, you just walk four minutes out of the back gate of the park and you are at one of the largest Tube stations in London. It is a diverse city, a clean city, and a city with a really rich art and history scene. You could spend your entire semester in London and surrounding areas and never get bored. It is that fantastic.

 What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in London?

DO NOT be afraid to travel and explore alone. You will learn so much about yourself and the kindness of others, I cannot recommend it enough. Also, take up a hobby or activity that you’ve never tried or had time for. After becoming good friends with a photography grad student in Wales, I started shooting film. I had so much fun going out into the city on a whim and bring my hand at street photography. I took my camera with me everywhere, on every trip, and connected with wonderful people all because I had my camera around my neck. It was an absolute blast, I found a small photo shop on a beautiful tiny street about fifteen minutes away from my school, and really immersed myself in photo and art culture. All of the photos that I shot and developed are near and dear to me, and I have those memories all because I tried something new.

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